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S2 / EP15: The Strange Murder of Robert Wone

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

This is truly the most bizarre case you will ever hear. The first time I came across this case, I almost couldn't believe it. Is this case the perfect murder? Quite possibly, yes. All clues point to someone in the house, but when you hear the case, you'll feel as if you're in a real life game of Clue. The evidence at the crime scene doesn't make sense, the wounds don't make sense...and after you hear this episode you'll be wondering - as I did - "who did it?"

 

Check out our INSTAGRAM for additional photos related to case!

 

Transcribed Episode / S2 EP15: The Strange Murder of Robert Wone


[Host]

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[Intro Music Begins / Fades]


[Host]

The case I’m about to tell you will quite possibly be the most intriguing case you will ever hear. The crime scene, the victim, the suspects….every single item and human being involved in this case is complex and will lead you to sit up night after night, wondering...who did it?

Simply put, this case is almost the perfect crime, and once you’ve listened to the facts of the case and the evidence, maybe you can decipher what happened, and who was actually responsible for the murder of...Robert Wone.

Robert Eric Wone was a fourth-generation Chinese American. He was born in 1974 in New York City to William and Aimee Wone. His family members would live in Chinatown and the neighboring cities of New York. He attended a private Catholic School, Xaverian High, in Brooklyn where he graduated as valedictorian and went on to attend the College of William and Mary as a James Monroe Scholar - which are the most academically distinguished undergraduates. He majored in Public Policy and became active in student government. It was during the 92-93 school year when he met Joseph Price. Robert and Joe became good friends, sharing honor society and student government leadership positions. Joe Price graduated from William and Mary in 1993.

Robert graduated three years later in 1996, receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, an award presented to a student excelling in “characteristics of heart, mind and helpfulness to others.”

Following his graduation, he moved on to study at the University of Pennsylvania law school, where he was active in the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. He graduated cum laude in 1999, and passed the New York state bar. He served as a law clerk for about a year for Raymond A. Jackson, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

In 2000, Wone joined the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. His focus was on employment law and commercial real estate. In 2002, Robert met his future wife, Katherine Ellen Yu of Vernon Hills Illinois, at a conference in Philadelphia.

The two married on June 7th, 2003. Joe Price and his partner Victor Zaborsky attended the wedding. Robert and Katherine then moved to Oakton, a suburb in Virginia located in Fairfax County. By that year, Robert became the lead associate attorney and was named as one of three finalists for “Best Office Lease” by the Washington Business Journal.

Robert was very active in numerous community organizations, was President-elect of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association and was a member of Grace Community Church in Arlington Virginia.

In June of 2006, Robert left Covington and began working as general counsel for Radio Free Asia, a United States government–funded, nonprofit international broadcasting corporation, in downtown Washington, D.C.

To say Robert was successful and accomplished, was an understatement.


In late July of 2006, Robert, now 32 years old, was scheduled to attend a CLE course the night of August 2nd, and also had a meeting with the night shift workers at Radio Free Asia. He knew that the class and meetings would run into the late night hours, so to avoid driving home that evening (he and Katherine lived roughly 17 to 18 miles from his work office) he thought it would be a better idea to stay the night at a friend’s house within the city. He first contacted a female friend to ask her if he could stay the night, but she said he could not. He then emailed his college friend Joe Price. Robert had never stayed at Joe’s home before but they had kept in contact over the years and remained friends, Joe even attended Robert’s wedding. Joe’s house was only about a mile to a mile and a half from Robert’s office, so it would be super convenient. Joe responded to Robert’s email telling him that yes, he could stay the night at his house, so Robert let him know he would be arriving at the house around 11:00 that night. Robert also let his wife know of his plans.

35 year old Joe Price worked as an attorney for Arent Fox, a law firm in Washington DC, where he specialized in intellectual property litigation and trademark and copyright disputes. In 2005 Joe purchased a high-end three story townhouse at 1509 Swann Street, NW in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington DC. He lived in the townhouse with his partner, 40 year old Victor Zaborsky and a third gentleman, 36 year old Dylan Ward. Victor Zaborsky was the senior marketing manager for Milk Processors Education Program or MilkPep (the ones who did the “Got Milk” campaign), and Dylan Ward was a chef, children’s book author and licensed masseuse.

The three men had been in a polyamorous relationship for about four years.with Joe and Victor in a relationship together, and Joe and Dylan also in a relationship. The house shared walls with the neighboring houses on either side, and included a finished basement. The first story included a living area, dining area, kitchen and a deadbolt door that led to a fairly small outdoor patio enclosed by an 8 foot fence and a locked security gate. A 16-step carpet-less wood staircase took you to the second floor. The second floor contained two bedrooms: one of which was Dylan’s room located at the top of the stairs, and the other was a guest room which was situated towards the front of the house and overlooked Swann street. A bathroom, separate from the bedrooms, was next to Dylan’s room and down the hall from the guest room. Another set of stairs led to the third floor which contained the master bedroom which Joe and Victor shared. The house had an alarm system that caused a “chime” every time the front or rear doors were opened. The finished basement of the house was rented out to a close friend of Joe and Victor, a single woman named Sarah Morgan.

On August 2nd, tenant Sarah Morgan had let Joe know that she wasn’t going to be home that evening, but that she’d be spending the night at a friend’s house. She left the house around 6pm and told Joe that she would set the house alarm before leaving.

That evening at around 9:30, Robert called Katherine to let her know he had just finished his CLE class and was headed back to work to meet the night shift employees. At 10:24, Robert calls Joe from his work phone to presumably let him know that he would be leaving for their house. It would take approximately 8-10 minutes for Robert to drive from his workplace to the Swann Street residence.

Robert arrives at Joe’s house between 10:30 and 10:40 that night. Robert, Joe and Dylan share a glass of water in the kitchen and make idle chat. Victor didn’t see Robert when he came in, as he was already in bed in the master bedroom on the third floor. A little before 11:00, the men retire to bed with Robert heading upstairs to the guest bedroom on the second floor. Joe headed up to his bedroom on the third floor and Dylan to his bedroom on the second floor. Robert then took a shower in the bathroom down the hall from his room.

At 11:05 and 11:07, Robert’s Blackberry had two emails set up as drafts. One of the emails was to Robert’s wife telling her that he just showered and was about to go to sleep. The second one was confirming a work lunch the next day. The emails were never sent. The phone was later handed over to the custody of police, but they failed to image or fingerprint it before they turned it over to Robert’s company Radio Free Asia, who wiped the phone. It was never determined if Robert himself wrote those emails, or if someone else wrote them, or if someone altered the time stamps on the drafts.

Sometime after falling asleep at around 11:05 or 11:10, Joe and Victor heard a security “chime” indicating one of the doors to their home was opened. Joe assumed it was Sarah probably coming home to her basement apartment which has its own separate entrance. The two men then heard three “grunts or low scream” sounds coming from downstairs. They walked downstairs to the second floor, entered the guest bedroom, and found Robert, lying on his bed. He’d been stabbed.

Between 11:00 and 11:30 that night, the next door neighbor William Thomas, who’s bedroom shared a wall with Robert’s room, heard a single desperation scream coming from the room on the opposite side of his wall. The neighbor recalled the time frame, as he was watching a newscast that aired at that time.

Joe told Victor to go upstairs immediately and call 911, even though there was a phone in Robert’s room. It was 11:49pm when a frantic Victor Zaborsky called 911:

[911 Call from Victor Zaborsky]



[911 Operator]

Washington DC Emergency 911 Operator 6752 do you need police, fire or ambulance?


[Victor Zaborsky]

...immediately, we need an ambulance.


[911 Operator]

What’s wrong ma’am.


[Victor Zaborsky]

We had someone (inaudible) in our house evidently, and they stabbed somebody.


[911 Operator]

Okay somebody’s inside the house now?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I don’t know, we heard…


[911 Operator]

Are they bleeding?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Yes


[911 Operator]

Say someone is bleeding?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Someone is bleeding in our house…


[911 Operator]

Okay where are they bleeding from?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I think in the stomach.


[911 Operator]

In the stomach...is he conscious? Calm down for me, I’m gonna send some help okay. Female or male?


[Victor Zaborsky]

It’s a male, he’s a friend of ours, he was spending the night with us.


[911 Operator]

Okay and who was the person that stabbed him, do you know?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I don’t…


[911 Operator]

Is he conscious?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We need an ambulance…


[911 Operator]

Ma’am…


[Victor Zaborsky]

No he’s not conscious.


[911 Operator]

He’s not conscious at all?


[Victor Zaborsky]

No. We need someone right now.


[911 Operator]

Is he breathing? Listen to me, calm down we’re gonna help you okay, is he breathing?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I’m upstairs and he’s downstairs, I don’t know.


[911 Operator]

Okay who’s downstairs with him?


[Victor Zaborsky]

My partner is downstairs with him right now. He told me to go upstairs and call the police immediately, (inaudible)...


[911 Operator]

Okay who’s the person…? Okay, I’m sending paramedics and the police. Okay who’s the person that stabbed him?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I don’t know, we think it’s somebody, was an intruder in the house, we heard a chime at the door.


[911 Operator]

And that’s 15, ma’am calm down, 1509 Swann Street Northwest am I correct?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Yes.


[911 Operator]

The person that stabbed him, is he still in the home?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I don’t know.


[911 Operator]

We got help en route okay.


[Victor Zaborsky]

Thank you, thank you.


[911 Operator]

They are, they’re en route to you now, the police, and the paramedics okay to assist. What I need you to do is to go downstairs okay, the place wherever he was stabbed at, I need you to get a dry cloth okay, and just apply pressure to that area. Wherever he was stabbed at on his body, I need you take a towel downstairs while you’re waiting for the paramedics to arrive and just apply pressure, even if the rag or towel is saturated with blood just get another towel and put it on top, never lift the first towel off the area. Hold it on, once it gets filled up with blood, just put another towel on top of that and just apply pressure until the paramedics arrive.


[Victor Zaborsky]

(inaudible) apply pressure….paramedics are on the way?


[911 Operator]

Yes.


[Victor Zaborsky]

He was stabbed in the heart.


[911 Operator]

In the heart?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Yes. In the center of his chest.


[911 Operator]

Okay is he breathing?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Is he breathing?


[911 Operator]

You don’t know who it was?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We have no idea.


[911 Operator]

Okay is he breathing?


[Victor Zaborsky]

He’s breathing but we need help now.


[911 Operator]

Okay we have help en route ma’am okay, we do have help en route. Just go down there and try to tell your husband, or your other half, to try to keep him calm and talk to him okay. Keep him calm and talk to him until someone gets there, and at the same time get a dry cloth and just hold it right there in the area…


[Victor Zaborsky]

My partner is holding the...


[911 Operator]

Okay


[Victor Zaborsky]

...is holding it on him…


[911 Operator]

And once it gets saturated with blood, tell him to get another one, go get another towel so you can apply it on top of that once it gets filled up with blood. You need to apply pressure on that area.


[Victor Zaborsky]

He is applying pressure right now.


[911 Operator]

Just hold it there until the paramedics get there, they should be pulling up any moment, they’re already en route to your location.

You don’t know who did this?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We have no idea who did this.


[911 Operator]

Is the door open so they can get in?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We don’t know how they got in.


[911 Operator]

Okay, what I’m asking you now, is the door open so the paramedics can get in once they get there?


[Victor Zaborsky]

What were you saying?


[911 Operator]

Is the door open so the paramedics can get in the home?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I was going to go down...


[911 Operator]

Is this a private home or an apartment?


[Victor Zaborsky]

It’s a home.


[911 Operator]

It’s a home, 1509 Swann Street Northwest?


[Victor Zaborsky]

The person has one of our knives.


[911 Operator]

The person that stabbed him ran out of the door with a knife?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I think so…


[911 Operator]

Anybody, any type of description of the person that came into the home?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We have no idea, we have no description, we heard the chime, then we heard the screams from our friend.


[911 Operator]

Okay.


[Victor Zaborsky]

And so we came running downstairs, we ran…


[911 Operator]

So you both were upstairs and your friend was downstairs?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Yes.


[911 Operator]

You heard the door open and then you heard the scream?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We didn’t, I didn’t hear the door open until after the scream and then we ran down the stairs, we hear, and we have an alarm, and so the chime went off.


[911 Operator]

Okay.


[Victor Zaborsky]

Is the ambulance please, we really need the ambulance.


[911 Operator]

Okay, they en route, they en route now ma’am. Go to the door they should be pulling up any moment okay.


[Victor Zaborsky]

I’m afraid to go downstairs!


[911 Operator]

Okay the person who’s downstairs was the person who was (inaudible)


[Victor Zaborsky]

No we’re on the second floor.


[911 Operator]

Okay somebody needs to go downstairs open the door for the paramedics. You’re not sure if that person is still in the home or not?


[Victor Zaborsky]

We have no idea.


[911 Operator]

Okay we have paramedics en route okay.


[Victor Zaborsky]

What time is it?


[911 Operator]

What time is it at the moment?


[Victor Zaborsky]

Yes.


[911 Operator]

23:54, it’s 11:54 ma’am.


[Victor Zaborsky]

11:54.


[911 Operator]

Yes.

I’ll stay on the line with you, I will stay on the line until somebody gets there okay I won’t hang up.


[Victor Zaborsky]

We need them right now, I’m not hanging up, but we need help now.


[911 Operator]

Okay they en route ma’am, they are en route. Let me know when you hear the paramedics, can you look out the window and see if you hear them coming?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I’m looking out the window and I see nothing, I see nobody.


[911 Operator]

Okay it seems like forever but they are en route ma’am, they’re coming.


[Victor Zaborsky]

Here they are, here they are.


[911 Operator]

They’re there?


[Victor Zaborsky]

I’m going downstairs…


[911 Operator]

Okay. I’ll stay on the line with you until you open the door for the paramedics, okay?


[Victor Zaborsky to Paramedics]

Help us! We have someone who's stabbed, they’re on our second floor.


[911 Operator]

Ma’am?


[Victor Zaborsky to Paramedics]

It’s really an emergency, he may be, please hurry!


[911 Operator]

Ma’am, it’s going to be okay.


[Host]

In the 911 call, Victor, who the operator mistook for a woman, explained that an intruder had broken into their house and stabbed a friend of theirs. He mentions twice to the operator that their door “chimed.” He also tells the operator that the “person” has one of their knives - the issue of the knife will come up later. One last interesting thing to note about this call, was that Victor asked the operator what time it was. According to Victor’s interview with police, he said that it was Joe who asked him what time it was. The 911 operator tells him the time is 11:54. This piece of information becomes important during the investigation.

Joe or Victor hadn’t seen Dylan at this point come out of his room. It wasn’t until Victor was on the phone with 911 and began to make his way back down to the second floor that he saw Dylan coming out of his room. When Victor headed down to the first floor to wait for paramedics, Dylan came halfway down the stairs and asked him “is the back door open?”

Two Emergency Medical Technicians, each with 10 and 15 years of experience, arrived at the house about 5 minutes later. They were greeted by a hysterical Victor standing on the front steps of the home. He was dressed in a white bathrobe and was still on the phone with 911. As you heard on the call, the EMT’s were told by Victor that the person was on the second floor.

The EMT’s began to head up the stairs to the second floor and came across Dylan, also dressed in a white bathrobe, coming from the hallway area that adjoined the bathroom on the second floor. One of the EMT’s asked him “what’s going on?” Dylan looked at the EMT but didn’t respond, and continued to walk past him and into his bedroom on the second floor. WEIRD. The EMT’s then spotted Joe, who was wearing only underwear and was sitting on the edge of the pull-out bed where Robert’s body was laying in the guest bedroom. Joe had his back to the door and was not applying pressure to Robert’s wounds or touching him at all. One of the EMT’s asked Joe “what's going on?” and Joe’s only response was “I heard a scream.” Joe stood up and instead of turning around to move out of the way of the EMT’s or exiting the room, he kept his back to the EMT’s and walked sideways away from the bed and walked around to the opposite side of the bed.

The behavior of the men threw up red flags for the EMT’s - they had years of combined experience and had been to numerous scenes that involved victims that were injured in a similar manner or worse, and almost always the inhabitants of the house would be yelling at the EMT’s or trying to direct them to the victim. This wasn’t, however, how Joe, Victor and Dylan were behaving. Their behavior was so odd, that the EMT visually checked Joe’s hands for any weapons upon entering the bedroom.

The EMT started to work on Robert deliberately on the opposite side of the bed that Joe was on, so that he could keep an eye on Joe. Robert had no pulse and was not breathing. It appeared he had been dead for some time.

Robert was lying on the pull-out bed on his back. The bed was made, and he was lying on top of the sheets, and the comforter underneath him was folded down at a 45 degree angle. This was unusual, as Robert’s wife Katherine later tells authorities that Robert always pulled the covers all the way down to his feet. His arms were at his side and his head was on a pillow that had a single indentation where his head lay.

He was wearing a grey tee shirt, gym shorts and underwear, which his wife confirmed was his normal sleep attire. He was also wearing a teeth-grinding mouth guard, which he always wore while he slept. He had some clothes that were neatly folded on a table at the foot of the bed. There were three cuts on his tee shirt that corresponded to three stab wounds in his chest. The room Robert was in had not been ransacked and other than a towel casually draped over a chair and another white towel on the floor, the room was not in disarray. Robert’s wallet, blackberry and watch were on the table at the foot of the bed. A bloody knife was on the nightstand next to the bed. That knife will end up being a match to a knife from the kitchen.

The other EMT immediately observed something else odd. One of Robert’s wounds on his chest was large enough to fit a finger through, but there was almost no blood on his chest, on the floor or anywhere else in the room. There were no signs of a struggle in the bedroom. The EMT stated that it appeared as if the body of Robert had been “showered, redressed and placed on the bed.”

Although Robert had three open wounds on his torso, there was little to no blood on his chest. It appeared someone had taken a towel and wiped blood off his chest, but the white towel on the floor - which was later determined to be Robert’s blood - had very little blood on it. So where were the other towels that were supposedly used, as instructed by the 911 operator, to soak up all the blood?

Robert was put on a stretcher and taken to George Washington University Hospital. Shortly after midnight, Joe called Katherine Wone to tell her that Robert was dead. She recalled him telling her, “Kathy, I can’t believe I’m calling you about this, but go to George Washington hospital because Robert has been stabbed.” She immediately headed to the hospital. Robert was pronounced dead at 12:25am.

Police arrived at the Swann Street house shortly after paramedics. Once the EMT’s took Robert to the hospital, police asked Joe, Victor and Dylan to come in so that they could be questioned about the incident. They agreed and initially talked to police without any attorneys present.

The three men were interviewed separately in length. Their story was the same...an intruder had entered the home, walked up the stairs, stabbed Robert, didn’t disturb anyone else in the home, and left the same way he or she came. None of them saw or heard an intruder, other than hearing the door “chime.” They all denied that anyone in the house had anything to do with the murder and all three denied any sexual relationship with Robert.

When police questioned Dylan about what occurred on the second floor after he went to bed that evening, Dylan said that he took a sleeping pill and went to bed and that Robert took a shower, and then went to his room and latched the door. Dylan said it was sometime after he’d fallen asleep that he heard a commotion. He listened for a bit, then put on his robe and walked out of his room. When he walked out he saw Victor on the phone. He then looked into Robert’s room and saw Joe sitting on the pull-out bed in his underwear and Joe told Dylan that he, quote: “moved the knife.” Dylan said he couldn’t say if either Joe or Victor killed Robert as he came out of his room after the stabbing happened.

Dylan’s demeanor during the interview was no different than it was at the house. He was detached, distant, patient and calm.

When Joe was questioned, he said that it was about 11:35 when he and Victor heard the door “chime.” Now you recall that the 911 dispatcher told Victor what time it was when he asked her, which was an odd question at the time. She told him it was 11:54, however, when he relayed the time of the 911 call to Joe, he mistakenly told him it was 11:43. So Joe is telling police they heard the chime at 11:35 so it would appear as if very little time had passed before they called 911.

Joe and Dylan both claimed that after dinner that night, Joe went into the back courtyard to look at a bug in a light, and probably forgot to lock the back door.

When Joe and Victor came upon Robert stabbed in the bed, Joe said he saw the knife laying on his stomach. He picked up the knife and moved it to the nightstand. Later on, Joe told a friend a different story - he said that he actually pulled the knife out of Robert’s chest before putting it on the nightstand - but that was not what he told police. Joe said that he lifted Robert’s shirt and saw the stab wounds and a lot of blood on his chest.

Joe was insistent that neither Victor or Dylan could have hurt Robert. He also voluntarily mentioned that police might find his fingerprints or DNA on the knife because he had picked it up off of Robert’s chest. He also said that police might not find the “real killer’s” DNA on the knife because they might have been wearing a glove.

Joe’s demeanor during the interview was later described by the judge as arrogant, flippant, unconcerned, aggressive, self-centered and dismissive. Probably not the best demeanor to have when being questioned by police about a murder in your own house.

At one point in the interview, Joe demanded to see Victor and Dylan saying that “if you guys are going to charge us, then you charge us.”

Towards the end of the interview Joe again asked to see Dylan, saying that, quote “his attorney’s trying to reach him and I don’t know if he’s being told what his rights are, but I suspect not.” When they told Joe he was free to go, he asked the officers, “what’s the story with Dylan? I mean, I’m going to get his attorney to come down here.”

Victor’s reaction upon finding Robert was very emotional and hysterical, as you heard on the 911 call, but during his interview with police he became very passive and unmotivated to assist the detectives.

After talking with the men, the police immediately had their suspicions that someone in the house was involved. During the interviews, they also asked the men several sexually charged questions due to the nature of their relationship with each other. Throughout the questioning police tried to use the interrogation tactic where they claimed the other two men told a different story, but the three men’s story didn’t budge. They continued to insist that it was an intruder who killed Robert.

Following the initial interviews, all three men provided DNA, fingerprint and hair samples and they also each obtained attorneys and no longer spoke with law enforcement without their attorneys present.

On Friday August 4th, Joe, Victor and Dylan drove to Oakton to share the details of that night with Katherine Wone.

The following day, August 5th, police interviewed Katherine and she asked Robert’s former roommate and Covington & Burling co-worker Jason Torchinsky to sit with her during that interview.

On August 6th, Joe called Jason Torchinsky and asked him what detectives had asked him during the interview. Jason told him that he couldn’t share anything because it would violate attorney-client privilege. Joe’s question raised Jason’s suspicions that Joe was trying to get all of their stories to match up.

Robert’s funeral was held on August 8th in Falls Church Virginia. Joe Price was asked by Katherine to be one of the pallbearers.

As the investigation progressed, police conducted searches of the three men’s vehicles on August 14th but found nothing of significance. Two weeks following the murder, police publicly announced that they believed that the crime scene had been tampered with, but they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest anyone. The Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit of the D.C. police were also called in to assist with the investigation.


For more than three weeks, the investigative team examined the townhouse on Swann Street by removing flooring, sink traps, pieces of the staircase and walls, and examining the washing machine. An affidavit that was issued in relation to a search warrant revealed that they believed that the area around Robert’s body had been cleaned.

Cadaver dogs were brought into the house and signaled at two places: the rear stairwell drain that was located in the back courtyard and the lint filter in the dryer. This suggested to investigators that bloody clothes or towels were cleaned off in the backyard stairwell and put into the dryer. The drain cover in the courtyard was ajar, indicating that someone removed it and didn’t put the lid back on correctly. There was a garden hose next to it that was uncoiled. There was no evidence of forced entry from any of the doors, and nothing was disturbed or taken from the residence. So essentially there was not one piece of evidence that indicated that an intruder had been inside of the house.

Among other evidence retrieved at the house, police obtained multiple items from Dylan’s bedroom. These items included numerous BDSM binding and sex devices. BDSM is a sexual or role-playing practice that involves forms of bondage, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism. The devices obtained included wrist and ankle restraints, mouth gags, assorted metal chains with locks and a “milking” machine used to cause ejaculation. They also found books that were heavily highlighted related to inflicting pain on others or enslaving others for sexual gratification, and manuals on sadomasochism and other bondage practices.

Dylan had a knife set in his room that contained a large carving knife, a large fork, and a smaller knife. The smaller knife, having a blade measuring 4 and one half in length, was missing from that set and was never recovered.


The only illegal drug recovered from the residence was Ecstasy.


The relationship between the men is significant in that Joe and Dylan were in a BDSM relationship - with Joe being the submissive partner and Dylan being the dominant. There were photos on Joe’s computer which verified these roles in their relationship. Although Victor was not in a relationship with Dylan, all three men were very close, and Victor stated that Dylan could not have killed Robert and described Dylan as “one of the nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever met.”


Through the investigation, it was confirmed that Robert was a heterosexual, happily married man that was not involved in a sexual or intimate relationship with any of the three men.

Investigators analyzed the theory of the intruder. There was a security gate in the small courtyard. There was then a door in the courtyard which led into the kitchen - this was the door that the men claim was unlocked during Robert’s murder. The intruder would have had to enter into the kitchen from the courtyard and stop to grab a knife from the knife block. The intruder would then walk through the living room, passing a tv in the kitchen and a laptop in the living room which were not taken, and head up 16 uncarpeted wooden steps to the second floor. Once at the top of the steps, they would encounter Dylan’s closed bedroom door first. They would ignore that room and turn 180 degrees and walk another 20 feet to another closed door, Robert’s room.

Once they entered Robert’s room, they would have to walk around to the side of the bed, while Robert was sleeping, make three stab wounds to his chest, all the while, not creating blood spatter, and not waking up Robert or having him defend himself.

Robert’s wallet, blackberry and watch were all lying undisturbed on the table at the foot of the bed in the room. Once Robert was murdered, the intruder would then have to exit the room, walk down those loud wood steps and out through the back of the house into the courtyard and scale the security gate.

The theory sounds as if someone came into the house, knowing that someone would be in the guest room - even though normally no one stayed in that room - with the sole purpose of murdering the person that was in that room.

Strangely, just two months following Robert’s death, Joe’s brother - who had a substance abuse problem - and another individual broke into the Swann Street house and took more than $7,000 worth of electrical equipment. Joe’s house had never been broken into or burglarized prior to Robert’s death. Joe’s brother and his accomplice were arrested and charged with burglary, but the charges were later dropped. Joe’s brother was not linked to Robert’s murder.


The autopsy of Robert Wone was conducted on August 3, 2006 by Deputy Medical Examiner Lois Goslinoski of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia. When the autopsy results came back, things even got stranger.

Robert had petechial hemorrhages in his eyes which were consistent with asphyxia, or being suffocated, but there was no indication of manual strangulation to the neck.

There were three symmetrical and uniform stab wounds to Robert’s torso. The wounds were clean and without defects, meaning there were no drag marks, abrasions, or fish-tailing. Fish-Tailing occurs when a single edged weapon is used, and one angle of the wound will be sharp, and the other blunt or torn. It appeared that the same sized knife was used to make the three wounds.

The first wound was located in the central upper chest, 15 inches below the top of the head. This wound penetrated the heart and was 4-5 inches deep. The second wound was to the right side of the chest, 17 inches below the top of the head. This wound punctured the right lung and was 4-5 inches deep. The third wound was twenty and three fourths inches from the top of the head. This wound punctured the small intestine and pancreas and was 4-5 inches deep as well. The wounds damaged major vascular areas and organs and would have resulted in significant blood flow out of Robert’s body.

The wounds were inflicted exactly at the same angle. The sharp end was oriented at the 10 o’clock and the blunt edge was oriented at 4 o’clock - meaning that the perpetrator was holding the knife “normally” with the sharp end down when Robert was stabbed. The direction of all three wounds was front to back, right to left and slightly downward. According to the medical examiner, the wounds appeared to have been methodically inflicted. It’s almost as if the perpetrator took their time in inflicting these wounds and would only have been able to do that if that person had no resistance whatsoever from Robert.

None of the knife wounds would have killed Robert immediately. Unless he was drugged by a paralytic or some kind of incapacitating drug, he would’ve immediately defended himself or struggled at the onset of the attack. There were no defensive wounds on his hands or arms and there was no blood on his hands, indicating he didn’t even hold his hands to his chest after being stabbed.

The autopsy report indicated that the knife on the nightstand next to Robert’s bed, was not the same knife that created the wounds to Robert’s chest.


The knife that was missing from Dylan’s knife set was more consistent with the depth of Robert’s wounds. The knife on the nightstand had a blade that measured five and one half inches in length. The depth of each stab wound to Robert’s chest only measured 4-5 inches.

The medical examiner concluded that he was alive, but incapacitated at the time he was stabbed. He was also alive for a considerable amount of time following the three stab wounds that were inflicted.

There were multiple needle marks on the left side of his neck, three needle marks in the center of his chest, two needle marks to the upper portion of his right foot, and one needle mark on the back of his left hand. The needle marks were not a result of any medical intervention or treatment. Robert’s wife confirmed he did not have any needle marks on his body that she was aware of, nor did he have any doctor’s visits recently that would have caused them.

As if the autopsy report wasn’t strange enough at this point, semen was found on and around Robert’s genitals, on his anal, and in his rectum indicating that he had been sexually assaulted, however, no foreign DNA was found.

The toxicology came back with no toxins or drugs found in his blood, however, tests were not run for incapacitating or paralytic drugs as there was no early indication that Robert could have been injected with such drugs. Washington City Paper columnist Jason Cherkis criticized the medical examiner’s failure to test for such drugs and that they did not keep a sample of Robert’s blood for additional future testing. The columnist also pointed out that investigators did not follow up on a lint trap that had attracted the attention of a cadaver dog at the scene.

The Medical Examiner’s official cause of death was stab wounds to the torso and his death was ruled a homicide.

Blood pattern analysis was done and it was found that the blood pattern that was on the knife found in the guest room was more consistent with someone wiping or smearing blood onto the knife, then a knife that was used during the stabbing. In fact, the knife in the guest room had white towel fibers on it, indicating that the white towel that was on the floor in the guest room was used to smear blood on the knife. Robert was wearing a grey shirt, and there were no grey cloth fibers on the knife. All three men denied wiping the knife with Robert’s blood.

Also the towel on the floor of the guest room had a blood pattern that did not match up with someone placing the towel onto Robert’s bleeding wounds, but the pattern indicated it was used to place blood on the knife. There were only two small spots of blood on the bed where Robert was laying. There were no other bloody towels or blood anywhere in the residence.

In June of 2008, Joe sold the Swann Street townhouse for $1.47 million. Joe and Victor then moved to an apartment in DC and Dylan moved to a house that the three men had purchased in Florida.

In October of 2008, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence charges were filed and an arrest warrant was issued for Dylan Ward and concluded that Robert Wone was “restrained, incapacitated, sexually assaulted and murdered,” and that all three individuals in the house on Swann Street obstructed justice by altering and obstructing the scene, planting evidence, delaying the reporting of the murder to authorities, and lying to police about the circumstances of the murder. It also indicated that the men delayed calling 911 as much as 19 minutes to 49 minutes, as evidenced by the scream heard by the neighbor and the time that Victor called 911. The scream didn’t come from Robert, but came from Victor upon seeing Robert’s body.

In November of 2008, arrest warrants were issued for Joe and Victor as well and included the same charges. In December of that year, “conspiracy” was added to the charges against the three men.

Also in 2008 Robert Wone’s widow, Katherine Wone, filed a $20 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the three men. The lawsuit included "defendants' negligent failure to rescue Robert Wone after he was injured, defendants' destruction of evidence of Robert Wone's murder, and defendants' conspiracy to destroy evidence and obstruct the police investigation into Robert Wone's murder.” The three men invoked their fifth amendment right to not testify in that civil suit.

In April 2009 prosecutors disclosed the evidence of the two emails on Robert’s Blackberry. The drafts, according to prosecutors, were made at a time when they believed Robert was dead.

On May 10, 2010, Joe, Victor and Dylan’s trial began. The three men again invoked their fifth amendment right and refused to testify at the trial.

[Channel 5 Fox News (Youtube) Segment with News Anchor Allison Seymour and Defense Attorney Jon Norris]



[Allison Seymour]

Trial begins tomorrow in a high profile murder case that turned a Dupont Circle townhouse into the center of a mystery. Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward, are charged with obstruction of justice, not murder. Investigators believe the three men who lived in the house on Swann Street know who killed their housemate Robert Wone, but they have not told investigators.

Wone was stabbed three times. The housemates say an intruder killed him. Defense Attorney Jon Norris joins us live this morning with more on the charges that these three men today begin to face.

Good morning to you.


[Jon Norris]

Good morning Allison.


[Allison Seymour]

This is an interesting trial, this is not a murder trial. Tell us exactly the nature of these court proceedings.


[Jon Norris]

It is, it’s fascinating Allison, this is a murder case but it’s not a murder trial. The gentlemen on trial are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.


[Allison Seymour]

And this will not be heard by a jury as well?


[Jon Norris]

That’s also a pretty bold move the defense has made in this case. I think because of the amount of pre-trial publicity in this case, much of it which contains infor…misinformation rather, put out by the US attorney’s office early in the case, I think the defense attorney’s felt like they couldn't find a jury in DC that hadn’t already made up their minds in a case like that.


[Allison Seymour]

We’re seeing the three defendants still there, right there on the screen...they were housemates of Robert Wone. Is this unusual to see them hold out for this long? They simply have not told investigators if they know anything more.


[Jon Norris]

Well I think they have fully cooperated. In fact all three of the defendants in this case were interviewed for hours upon hours separately the night of the incident. There really is no motive that they would have either to kill Mr. Wone or to cover up if someone else did it. They’ve said right from the start that it was an intruder that did this.


[Host]

The defense argued that the murder happened quickly by an unknown intruder and it wasn’t a long, drawn out effort to sexually assault Robert before he was killed, as the prosecution alleged.

A court filing indicated that the Prosecution intended to release evidence of a website called ALT.com where Joe Price had created a personal profile. The website was a “sexually oriented web site specializing in S&M practices.”

In June of 2010, Judge Lynn Leibovitz found each of the men not guilty of all charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. The judge explained that she personally believed that the three men knew who killed Robert, but the evidence couldn’t convince her beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed the crimes with which they were charged.

On August 3, 2011 Katherine Wone’s lawsuit against the men was settled for an undisclosed amount.

In regards to the settlement, Kathy Wone’s attorneys stated that the suit was less about the money and more about trying to hold someone accountable for Robert’s death. In a 2011 interview with the Washington Post, Kathy said that she was stunned about the three men’s decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment during the civil trial, saying, and I quote: “They can rot from the inside out from all the secrets they chose to keep,” she said. “That’s their choice. I chose to move on.

The Victorian home at 1509 Swann Street, was put up for sale by an unknown party in May of 2019 for $2.3 million. It sold and closed in October of that year for $2.1 million.

Public records show that Joseph Price has changed his name to Joseph Anderson, and both Joe and Victor currently share the same address in Maryland. Dylan Ward has legally changed his name to Dylan Thomas and has moved to Florida.

[Ambient Segment Music Ends]


This is a strange case where we may never know what happened that night in August 2006. If you asked me who murdered Robert, I probably couldn’t tell you. What I do know is that what happened that night was intentional - someone intended to kill Robert - and that someone, got away with murder.


[Ambient Segment Music Ends; Outro Music Begins]


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[Outro Music Ends]

 

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